Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jersey Girl

“There is just something about New Jersey that breeds a certain type of life and by extension, a certain type of person.” This is the opening line of Kristen Buckley’s coming of age memoir, “Tramps Like Us”. Kristen Buckley is a musician, a screen writer and a novelist. She has written a very funny, rather quirky memoir about how she got from the suburbs of New Jersey to the streets of Los Angelus, via New York City.

Kristen Buckley begins the story with the tragic-comedy event of her physician father announcing to his six year old daughter, “Now that that you’re six you don’t need a dad anymore.” Kristen promptly went home to her surviving parent and climbed into bed with her mother and her Korean brother and sister who had been adopted two months earlier.

And so began the odyssey of surviving in New Jersey in “70’s Divorce Hell”. From the exploding septic tank on the sprawling front lawn to the long lost Korean sibling who is rescued by Kristen’s mother, but whose knowledge of English is limited to profane four letter words.

For readers growing up in the seventies and eighties this story will have a certain resonance. But for those of us who didn’t grow up in that era or in New Jersey, this story is just plain fun. Buckley has a wry sense of humor, not to mention what a precocious, wise child she was. It is fun to laugh and commiserate with her and this crazy family as that make their way through a difficult time with a great sense of humor and determination.

By the end of this charming, laugh out loud story you are really routing for a girl who really didn’t care what anybody else thought as she tried to make sense of her wacky life. I love the section where she lists (the) 66 famous people who are from New Jersey. With this story, and Kristen Buckley’s accomplishments, there are now 67!

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